Thursday, December 23, 2004

NY Journal # 23

Thursday, December 23, 2004
If I've learned anything through my writing, it is this:
° I need only to write about something to make it not happen anymore. As in: snow. as in,.. the snow i spent so much time talking about loving. As in, there's not even a damn flake left on the streets. Grrr. I'm trying to keep that diamond-in-a-pile-of-dookey-attitude that says "Oh, but it makes the snow on my birthday so much more special!" it doesn't. but that's ok. Self delusion is a skill that must be honed with practice, like my finely tuned jedi powers.
° In reading some of my past journals, I think i come off as a bit of an ass. Maybe I dont most of the time, but sometimes I think "who is this ass writing these things?" sometimes pretentious, sometimes i think i'm just trying to hard to write well. Or maybe not. self analysis is a skill i should probably try to practice less.
° Having said that, I think I may be getting better at this writing thing. Granted, this is a weblog.. or journal.. in effect, a diary... and not the op ed page of the New York Times, but the regular practice seems to be having some positive effect. If i ever hope to make writing a profession, I'll have only benefited from all these.. "first drafts"... so to speak... It's the editing, not the writing, I've found, is the more important skill to improve.
° Hi, my name's Kory and I am a chronic abuser of punctuation. "Hi Kory.."
° I think my fight-or-flight reaction is set a little too much on the 'flight' side because every time I want to talk to a girl, my initial, gut urge is to turn and run away. fast and with reckless, arm-flailing abandon. Maybe I should just be fighting them instead..? again, with reckless, arm-flailing abandon. do girls like that? There's only one way to find out! (yes, I'm kidding)
today on the subway. the abso-lutely most kory's-ideal, bespectacled, jewish-girl-next-door, straight-shoulder-length-dark-hair, finely-but-not-too-finely dressed, physically fit in a .. I'll go with.. tennis-or-maybe-pilates-or-dare-I-say-yoga kind of way, little-or-no-make-up and ... most alluringly... somewhat bookish in that shy, reserved, probably-cute-soft-voiced kind of way. And as I played out our entire future together - from our beginnings as a globe-treking travel writer (me) and world reknowned archeologist and astronaut (her) to our back to back Pulitzer and Nobel prizes to our three kids, house on a river, a small motor boat and successful astronaut career's pension making life comfortable in our graying days....... I knew I wasn't going to talk to her. Not today, I told myself, the next time i see her! Pardon me, but what the hell kind of thinking is that? In a city of 8 million, I'm banking on running into her again?? Would that be before or after I find that huge bag of money? I mean, really.
still, she rides the 1/9 line & gets off at South Ferry station also so there's a chance I'll run into her again. or.. run away from her. or fight her.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
And a spell was cast on him wherein words to wish or words of fact would summon the opposite effect.
And so it was.....
I told my dad on christmas day that it hadn't snowed since my birthday... six days prior. I walk outside and ... sure enough... chilly, flakey goodness falling all around. I was on my way to a Perry St coffee shop to read for a while but ended up enjoying walking in the snow too much to stop. An hour or so later, I ended up at my local nfl-satellite bar to read while glancing up at the different games occassionally. This always brings about weird looks from fellow patrons who cant seem to understand why anyone would go to a sports bar ... and then not glue their eyes to tv commercials and the bottoms of a string of pint glasses - which in a strange twist of symbiosis, mirrors my not understanding how people can watch commercials and drink during the day. Not that there's anything wrong with either...

Sooo... christmas was hard. not for it's not resembling any christmas I've ever known, in terms of trees and stockings and presents and their absolute lack thereof - which i was suprisingly fine with - but because this was the christmas I had sort of "used" to motivate my mom to stay strong and look forward to. It was her favorite holiday so we were hoping that'd help motivate her too - which just makes it all the more painful.. not that it was really a matter of motivation of course. This reality of her absence is sinking in, much deeper in the past few days. I spoke to her a mere few weeks ago and the thought that that's not possible, any more, at all, ever .... yeah well.... hard. very hard to deal with.
Not that my mom would have benefitted from it, but this is an interesting news story She certainly had the fear, but the fact that it was brain cancer may have precluded her from the study.

No plans as of yet for New Years Eve. something semi-mellow hopefully. no way, right? me? wanting to do something mellow? my life needs an adrenaline I.V. yeesh.
actually, i took a step towards that the other day, signing up for a winter volleyball league - very exciting. it's been... good lord... probably 3 years since I've even stepped onto a court. "fi-nal-ly!".

Fun with links! and fun links! and ... fun.. ?
Come to NY, we'll go here and here (going there this wknd) and we'll go here and here and here and to some of these.
facts, facts and more facts - always good reading
and even more facts!

Thursday, December 30, 2004
There's nothing like 150,000 people and counting dying to put your own mourning into perspective. But not really. And then yes, really. but no. not at all. and then, yeah, a whole lot. Which is maybe why the media keeps reporting the story in the context of how many Americans died in the tragedy. It seems that the only way we can understand tragedy is if familiar players are involved. "12 Americans died? - Hey! I'm American. they probably said things like 'oh no!' 'sh!t!' 'run from the water!'" instead of... i dont know, some African-tribal-mouth-clicks or the seeming non-language-ness a lot of American think of when they hear most Asian languages. Someday in the not so distant future, media will be so finely tuned to self-serving, single-mindedness that we'll only get news based on our personal interests: "Seven Volleyball Players Killed as Meteor Wipes out Fiji" or maybe "Three Ex-patriate Oakland Raider fans to live under new Sumatran Government" or "Dayani's worldwide now number at 23,698" and in weather: "The Weather Over Your Head Will be 61° Today" - to the total exclusion of anything that doesn't directly affect us. Isn't it sort of that way already? 116,000 people. people like you. but not really. Because the news stories that make the paper are about how some Russian supermodel and her boyfriend survived. Or how Jet Li and his son made it (and right there even, I'm guilty of having that relate to me, having been a long time Jet Li fan... in a strange bit of coincidence, I saw his movie Hero the night before the tsunami). Critics would argue that you cant paint 116,000 pictures to match their stories, so aside from some video clips of it happening there's no way to tell the whole story accurately or equally. To those critics, I would say "the answer isn't to focus on celebrities, then!" to which they might say "I see, you'd like more of the babies-found-floating-on-doors or biological-dad-reunited-with-orphaned-son-he-saw-on-tv type human interest stories?" to which I'd have to say "ok, no, not those either" to which I'd then hear "well then what about the political side? how the U.S. initially offered a "stingy" amount of money (said someone in the U.N.) and how Powell got offended and said there was more money coming?" to which I'd sigh and say "nooo... you're right, I dont want to hear about countries throwing money at tragedy in the hopes it'll go away or at least away from their tv's and papers" from which I'd hear "Well, what then?? what's fair? how should they be remembered? honored? grieved for?" and, in probably a whisper, I'd say "I dont know". Maybe we just cant understand anything higher than single digit death tolls. Humans can barely wrap their minds around a single death let alone a few deaths - what do you think of when you think of 9 people dying? is it different from 23 people? 114 people? do you picture a small room full of people? an airplane full? I can picture roughly 3,000. roughly picture. And even then, I dont truly understand it. Despite all the practice the media's given me over the years... all the tributes, the t-shirts and bumper stickers, the documentaries and news stories. The September 11th victims, some with faces in our memories, some, just remembering the feeling of listening to the reading of the names on the anniversaries - seems to have instilled some sense of understanding of the amount of the loss of lives. but not really. in fact, not at all. y'know? What does 3,000 people look like? I know what 60,000something people looks like based on Raider game sell-outs, can I just double it for this tsunami death toll? Would it even mean anything to be able to visualize that many people all together? I'm having enough trouble coping with one death and even then, I know my dad is going through much more than I am. Can I, or you, or anyone be held accountable to emotionally process the deaths of 116,000? Is it just the difference between empathy and sympathy? Does repeatedly being confronted with death disolve sympathy into apathy? or are we all headed towards a global state of apathy? You know what doesn't help? 13 soldiers after 26 soldiers after 10 soldiers after 34 soldiers dying day after day after week after month after month. Whatever your political persuasion or whether they're 'needless' deaths or not.. we're being anesthetized by their constancy. that cant be good. or maybe it is. Maybe it's good that the human mind turns off when it's not so personal or the numbers climb too high.

Monday, December 20, 2004

NY Journal # 22

Monday, December 20, 2004
How do i describe how lame my birthday was without seeming like a sad-sack, pathetic waste of anti-social self-loathing? Hey!! that oughta do it..!! No, it wasn't cry-in-private lame but more of an apathetic "wow... this is kinda lame" lame.
35 and counting. It actually wasn't so bad for a solitary b-day, my first since turning 30. ok, those two sentences just made me feel ridiculously old. annnd pathetic.

Let's go to FJ & HB in the studio for highlights....
- there were three highlights actually, two of them football related.
First, the Raiders won. I'm not used to saying that this season, so I'm going to say it again... the Raiders... won. despite much effort to the contrary. technically, I should be rooting for the Raiders to lose so they get a better draft spot next year but I learned yesterday that I'm only able to summon such cynically bitter and delicious sarcasm when the Raiders are actually losing a game, not when they have the lead, like they did throughout the whole game yesterday. Second, the Denver Broncos got beaten hard, ending their ever-drizzling playoff hopes. If you follow football at all, or dont... for a Raider fan, this is like eating your favorite food while getting a massage while winning the Nobel prize while making out with a supermodel.
The third highlight... the one that signalled my mental music conductor to bring to life the choir of angels with a triumphant "Aaaaah!!!!".. and then made me giggle like a secret-prank-playing school-boy was... that it snowed.
the first snow of the year... on my birthday.
And then, again, this morning.. not my birthday anymore, but still... I was getting dressed & went to the window to peak out at the weather so I could figure out how warmly to dress... a thin layer of snow... and then it began again... totally out of my control... it started... sotto voce... almost subvocal... seemingly.. conniving... maniacal in fact,... with a near-insane glee. a slow, steady... almost evil... Giggle. as if to a fiendish plan that had finally come to fruition. as if, damsel secured to the tracks, I was left free to twirl my handlebar mustache and cackle with witch-like delight.
yessss.... winter wonderland... you will be mine.... .......

Monday, December 20, 2004
it's 12 degrees out. and you're freezing. suuure, it hurts to breathe and those tears from the cold wind threaten to freeze on your cheek. suuure, that same wind somehow manages to find ways into every part of your clothing and reverse-insulate you in a chill. suuure, people will slip and fall and crack their heads open while other people (umm.. not me) laugh at them. and suuuure, the lightning quick jumps between freezing to death and overheating in a subway station or train is something you can barely stay ahead of but......
it's .... just... sooooo.... freakin'..... beaaaauuuuuutiful.
and magical. and playful. and pure. and seemingly ignorant of gravity's most basic laws. it's simultaneously ethereal and ever-present. the colorless candy coating that covers every unsightly morsel of the city with a deliciously uniform and unconditional disregard. A free pass to be beautiful again. A get-out-of-ugly-free card. For as long as it snows, at least.
I know, I'm one of very few people here who looks forward to it ... who relishes a good snowfall disrupting the morning comute of the four-wheel-inclined. A dusting that causes tourists and city dwellers alike to slip and fall (see above... oh right. not me) A snow that piles up in gutters and against buildings as some store owners struggle to keep lawsuits from materializing in front of their store while others spare the street salts and opt for some ol' fashioned, low grade comedy instead.
Frankly, I dont understand why I'm in such the minority with this loving an urban winter thing. There's so much beauty behind all the self-centered misery people absorb themselves in. Cold is cold and absolute cold chills absolutely, it's true, but you're always a building or two away from a heated environment or more clothes so.... suck it up and enjoy the show, people.
Granted, to be truly chilled is a time-warping experience, on par with noticing every detail of a car crash, as it happens ... and in the moment, it's all you can think of. A brisk wind, when it's around 15° out or lower, can feel like your exposed skin is being instantaneously molded with a covering of ice, perfectly contoured to fit your body, but only present while the wind blows.
But look how pretty it is! look how white it makes everything! Can you even stand the purity of it all?!?!? -I- cant. For some it may be a balmy 80° sandy beach, for others maybe it's a fireplace, hot chocolate and a rain splattered window. For me it's flurries and furious snowfall.
Suuuure, it'll stop snowing. Suuuure, the snow will eventually be tainted by the city's smog, sludge and territorial dog markings. Suuuure, it may even become more nuisance than delight - even to me. And sure, I may not always giggle like an excited child when i see it.
Thankfully, that time is not now.
now pardon me while i warm myself over the fire of my own delusion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

NY Journal # 21

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
I dont really
want to talk about it... which, of course means that i probably will. you know me well enough to know that much.
how many times have i said something like that, though? seriously. why do i write about anything? sometimes i really wonder. catharsis? sure, maybe, whatever. self-therapy...? ya, ok. but why do i subject anyone else to it? some of you may be asking that too (seriously, honestly, truly... if you do, ask me to take you off the list, i swear i wont be offended in the slightest). why not just write about happiness and smiles, or "flowers... and butterflies" (Ms. Drew Barrymore's favorite things)...? if only life were so singularly pleasant.
Maybe just an overview then.........
The week out west sucked. a lot. as expected. my dad was really not taking it well... a lot. as expected. very understandable, of course.
A friend of mine said of times like this, you have to be a parent to your parent[s]. And so I did. I have to say that that really got me through a lot of it. Trying to help my dad through his grief let me rise above my own, for the most part.
Sadly.. (or not) though, I found out I'm not a robot. And not being a robot, I -am- prone to grieve and mourn. To paraphrase something my dad said, the sadness comes from the lost potential my mom couldn't use, the years she should have had left. She was 58, fourteen years younger than my dad. She had future wives to meet and grandchildren to play with. She was a year away from retiring with my dad to Hawaii.
The funeral.. was... nice. is that the right word? The church it was held in is a replica of Christ Church in Boston, the Paul-Revere-lantern-signal church announcing the British were coming. Is that significant? no, not at all, but having been to the original in Boston, it was strangely reassuring... somewhat comforting in it's... structural familiarity. if that makes any sense.
My mom is entombed (or "encrypted"?) at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills, a hundred or so feet from Betty Davis, Liberace, Benny Goodman, Albert Brocolli (the James Bond producer guy) & some other formerly famous folks. Not that any of them benefit from their proximity to eachother of course, but it was enough to have gotten a "hmmph.. interesting" out of me.
The service itself was... nice. really hard to take, but nice. A close family friend, my mom's cousin and a close friend/coworker of my mom gave eulogies. All very, very nice. All reducing me to tears.
Luckily for me, the only things to truly break me down.. to tears at least, were the eulogies and a photo/video project that one of our family friends is putting together. Something about being confronted with the visual reality of my mom's life was overwhelming, to say the least. Photos of her as a kid, as a teenager, as someone my age. As a girl, as a wife, as my mom... It's interesting how you can project a sadness into the eyes of the people you lose.
Soooooo... I took home a sweatshirt of hers, her jewelry box, a few items of her jewelry to give to my future wife or daughter. Oh and my bible. Ya, you read that right. My bible from the Lutheran school my brother and I attended. My bible that... had a Garfield bookmark in it. Ya, i was a dork.
Soo... ya.. Whatcha gonna do? what's there to say really..? a very sad week. a very not fun week. a long painful ramble down memory lane. Not so much a ramble really, more like running a gauntlet, getting kicked in the shins along the way. no flowers and butterflies. no sunshine and rainbows.
And yet, in rememberance, we still managed to laugh and smile at times. We joked and told stories. We were consoled by others and consoled eachother. We lost a linchpin of our family. To be sorely, sorely missed, without a doubt. Like I couldn't have even imagined. But somehow... in some way,... call it gravitational cohesion... the family orbit tightens.

Friday, December 17, 2004
And now for something completely different........
my brother, who maintains recently made point to this page. if that is not the coolest, i dont know what is.
° in the 1960's, my dad was recruited by the CIA but turned them down. Ya. these are obviously the kinds of stories you hear and think "ok, how in the hell did i never hear THAT one before??" i mean, seriously. while in college, my dad was a big organizing factor in an Iranian/American-college-student group that hosted the Shah of Iran twice during his visits. He and his group also went to Iran and met with him at his presidential palace... the Shah apparently illuminating the merits of bringing their educations back to Iran and making Iran a better, smarter country. This I knew about... but CIA recruitment?
° 33° on Tuesday, 34° on Wednesday, 37° on Thursday, 29° today. puddles in the street are frozen (the ones that are water, at least. ahem) Snow cant be too far away. I'm practicing my giddy, snow induced giggling. I'm also simulating the formation of snowballs so my muscles aren't shocked by lack of the physical memory of how to do it. With Elizabeth not here though, I'm going to have to be throwing them at strangers and then turning around quickly to pretend like I've done nothing.
° my dad told my brother and I a story about how he had been driving in Northern California years and years ago, when a truck in front of him kicked up a rock and smacked the windshield of his car, causing a huge crack. that happens all the time, I know. Jump forward a few years, to driving in Arizona with an Iranian friend of his - my dad starts telling his friend about years ago, driving down a freeway, when a rock got kicked up and hit the windshield "right here" to which he points at the center of the windshield. Just as he did that, a rock hit the windshield exactly where he was pointing and cracked that windshield.
° My favorite comedy in the world at the moment is Mike Tyson quotes. He is quite possibly the most ridiculous, most hilarious crazy man in the world.
° Revelation Space is -still- the best book ever. I'm almost done with it, dont worry, I'll stop trying to get everyone to read it soon. (and probably start pushing the 2nd of the trilogy : )
° my 2nd christmas in New York. hmm. another birthday in NY. hmm. i already want to skip them both. luckily I have plans for xmas eve. sadly i have none for my b-day. might do a drink or two with a few friends Sunday eve. or might just stay in and watch fifteen movies, back to back. or i will go on a wild Denny's goosechase, getting as many free b-day meals as I can stomach.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

NY Journal # 20

Tuesday, December 7th -

JOURNAL ENTRYMy mom passed away at approx 4:30pm PST. my dad called at 9pm EST, mostly hysterical.. "understandable" is yet another understatement. me? some shock. muffled sadness. much relief. 18 months of me and my family getting kicked and punched by bad news after dashed hopes after prolonged pain after realization of imminent death.. is finally over.

Wednesday, December 8th -
United's """bereavement""" fare is $200 more than their regular fare. Jet Blue has none but is still $200 cheaper than United's regular fare. god i hate United. and love Jet Blue. So I get in, drive back to Irvine with my brother, eat, watch some tv, get assigned by dad to sleep in "the other room" which is obviously my mom's old room. hmm. i start to wonder how weird or difficult that is going to be. thankfully the mental time distance of her not having been in it for 2 weeks or so was enough to disassociate. that and i think my dad put away a lot of her things to keep that factor at bay slightly.
the funeral is monday afternoon. if you feel the need to send flowers, please... dont. instead, send something to the Nat'l Foundation for Cancer Research or better yet, as a huge favor to me and a memorial to my mom, I'd ask that you get your computer hooked up on the's cancer research project - that would really mean a lot to me. It wont tax your computer in the slightest when you're using it, it's got no spyware or adware or anything harmful at all. It just helps "process molecular research" towards finding a cure for cancer. Not to sound like a commercial, but one in four people will get cancer so... i dont know how else to say this... do a small part in helping find a cure or treatment before it's you or somone in your family. American society, possibly due to our numbers, is most often powerless to help in fields that they dont have any specialized knowledge in... this is a chance to step outside that unfortunate fact of living. your computer can help where you might not be able to. hey, if your vote didn't "count", at least this can.
if you're tempted to say "if there's anything I can do for you?" - this is it.

NY Journal # 19.75 (oops)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
It seems that my hair has reached the length proscribed by sages and sorcerers of universal magic to conjure powers of invisibility.
invisibility to women, that is. I seem to have become a non-entity. A non-considered, space-taker that might as well be fat, bald, smelly and wearing a bugs bunny t-shirt stained with bodily fluids. And sweatpants. Also stained with bodily fluids. And yet, someone who looked like that might actually get a look or two of pity. Not me, I'm invisible! WOOHOO!! Honestly, I swear this is not self-pity, it's just an unfortunate, observable fact. Nothing that I cant change of course, my self image is not that lacking... I just think it's an interesting phenomenon. It could be the ever-increasing amount of gray hair I have or the ultra-lackluster, blase brown-ness of the rest of it, seemingly stripped of any color. Stripped and then beaten with a wet sash. and then baked in a 3000° clay oven for 4 days.
There was a time when invisibility was my most coveted superpower. Unfortunately, the type I'm now sporting does not afford me the pleasures I dreamed it would when I was 14 years old. I am, sad to say, not so invisible that I can walk into the ladies room at my gym and watch women shower... nor, and I almost found this out the hard way, am I invisible enough to walk into bank vaults and make snickering, five finger withdrawls. Nor can I make my kittens lose their minds.
I -am- invisible enough to go unnoticed by any and every lady I have found attractive in the last few weeks. Strange because I've been a bit more attentive to the way I dress lately and damn it if I haven't always been a stylish god that all men look up to, knowing full well they never could live up to. And still, despite... no, in spite of... my fashion god like status... I get no love.
'How do you know they're not looking?' you say? spies. I position people randomly around me, secret service ear beads and wrist mics networked in to..... ok, fine... i dont know. but you'd think i'd notice some here or there, right? ya. no. I'm not. noticing it, that is. It could be that I'm just being hard on myself or maybe I raised my expectations after cutting my hair when basically Every Woman on earth was checking me out, 24/7. I couldn't even handle the number of phone numbers I was collecting. I had to hire a personal assistant to.... oh, sorry, did i fall asl... sorry, I just woke up, what was I saying? Oh right. women seemed to look at me slightly more when my hair was super short than they do now which is, see above, not at all.
Am I just justifying my desire to cut off all my hair again? Sure! why not..? Also though... very true is the fact that my hair is reaching a length where I am going to have to either a) have it cut b) try to cut it myself c) put hair products in it to tame it slightly. Obviously, I seem to have deep rooted issues with a) as I saw a grand total of -1- barber in 14 years time. still, maybe i should, maybe they'd have good advice for possible hair styles ("hair" ..."style"... ??? what's that?) As for b) - sure, I can, I mostly likely will... but is it the right thing to do..? As for c) - I swore to myself that I'd cut it all off again if I ever had to be putting hair products in my hair again every morning. it really feels like that's where I'm headed. or maybe I'm just invisible lately.
DAILY SHOW again tonight! WOOHOOO!!!!!!!! at least the daily show will love me [insert mock pouty look here]

Monday, December 06, 2004

NY Journal # 19 and a half (oops!)

Monday, December 06, 2004
An email from my dad to me, my brother and my mom's cousin:
At this point it is very hard for me to call and talk to you regarding Donna's condition. So I will try email to keep you inform. I don't know, maybe it is better not to let you know of her pain and suffering which is now happening so fast. She is to be transferred from the assisted living home in Irvine to a skilled nursing facility in Laguna Woods tomorrow. This is the best facility that I have found after checking most of the available ones in Orange County. Besides losing her eye sights completely, she now has lost control of her left leg and arm. It is so hard to watch all this. Love, D[an]
things my dad did not mention about her condition: loss of much of her motor function, ambulation, continence, patience, rationality, word recall, short term memory. It seems that in this final phase of cancer, it takes a victory lap around, destroying individual bodily processes and wreaks havoc with the nervous system, sending shooting pain through limbs that haven't been stimulated to pain. Pain, itchiness, goosebumps, being cold or hot, any sensation your skin might ever feel.. now happens at random. and doesn't stop when treated.Thank god for morphine. (i hope) ever increasing quantities. I hope it's helping. I hope it makes it marginally bareable. I hope it at least helps her sleep. I hope it makes the final days my dad gets to spend with her... worthwhile. They've had 37 years to form a family's-worth of memories and though it's being cut short, I'd hate for their final impressions to be so.... so.... ...not about their life.

Friday, December 03, 2004
Last night, a massive batallion of cranberry juice stormed the beaches, laying down suppressing fire for the orange juice infantry that followed. A final barrage of vitamin bombardment softened the entrenched enemy encampments... or so was hoped. This battle day atmosphere was unusually dry, given the previous day's frustrating wetness and the debilitating shivers of war fatigue. Concusive sneezing was sporadic but still marked the night sky with echoes of the chaos unfolding within. An early bedtime seemed to signal armistice. The tides of battle had seemed to have turned, morale was increasing, but would it last? War is hell. Overnight the enemy staged an effort to recapture lost ground in a bitzkrieg of sweat and occasional shivers. The enemy had done a superb job in surrounding my forces, it's effort was admirable. But as is often the problem with surrounding an enemy, one leaves oneself dangerously thin in ranks. Had my morale been lower or had I not had accurate field counts of the enemies strength, I might have lost the battle to continue the war. Luckily, I saw it for what it was - the feeble, last ditch, thrust of a beaten enemy that does not know surrender. For good measure, I dispatched orange juice en masse to clear out insurgent hold-outs. As the fog of war lifted and dawn broke, the enemy was seen withdrawing to it's last stronghold of head-stuffiness .. and nothing more. Reconnaissance missions confirmed no hidden enemy lurking in wait for repeat attacks. Still - battle, war or skirmish - no conflict is ever without damage done. My nasal system reflects a ravaged field of battle, eerily quiet now but whispering the ghost tales of the myriad fallen. Sneezing, coughing and stuffiness have taken the major toll, leaving a dull-aching headache to fill the void where chaos had reigned. A lower back ache recalls the vestiges of former battles waged so long ago. And in some twist of lesser-evil relief, is actually welcome in comparison to any of the enemy symptoms encountered recently. "V-Day" is at hand.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Being sick sucks.... it sucks.... ....So Hard. I guess I haven't been this sick in a long time because I was reminded last night what it truly feels like. Or maybe it's just the cold shivers component of whatever kind of sickness this is that sucks so hard. Aside from pepper spray to the eyes, I doubt there is a more debilitating condition. Granted, the shivers only last for... as long as a given shiver lasts.. and being pepper sprayed is 30 minutes of wishing you were more than dead. Lying in bed, soaking the bed with sweat, not wanting to move a muscle because it'll just induce another shiver, trying to keep my constantly running nose from running, to keep my constantly tearing-up eyes from tearing, to decide if I am freezing or boiling under the covers - All the while knowing that it is getting later and later and I will most likely have to call in sick for lack of sleep alone - and I start thinking "ok, if or when i Do go into the office tomorrow, what will i say to my Napoleon-complex-having boss to shut him up if he says AnyThing At All about me being sick?". This aspect of job politics has always been interesting - how truthful can you be without coming off as bitchy or a guilt-tripper? I mean, no one wants to get walked on without so much as a word in your own defense, so you need to get a Little bit of a dig in... like, say "ya, I had to drag myself in today... I realized that paying rent was more important than staying healthy". or maybe "Sorry, I know I probably shouldn't be here today, but I already got screwed by not getting paid for the two day thanksgiving day "holiday" (finger air quotes optional) ... i cant afford any more non-working days" or.. if you're prompted or goaded or outright antagonized into major snippiness, try on a "well, since I've only been making $60 more than I was making on unemployement, that is.. when i work a FULL 5 day week... i figure if i want to... oh I dont know... have Shelter, or have.. what's that other one? oh ya, -food-... i had to come in today". With visions of sugar-plummed comebacks dancing in my head, I finally got to sleep. And then woke up. and then slept, and then woke and... on and on and on. I stayed at home till noon, got into work at 12:20 and ..... of course....... ................ my boss said nothing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
The Daily Show is the best show ever.--- t'was most awesome. everything about it. except for waiting for an hour to get in, but whatcha gonna do? The opening warm-up comic was actually Really Damn funny... suprising because none of Letterman's opening comics have ever been funny. The studio itself was much smaller than I'd imagined it would be. John Stewart is just as funny or moreso in person (taking questions from the crowd before the show) - Matt asked him if he'd warned the Crossfire bozos that he was going to lambast them, on-air to which John said "wow, excellent question.... do you mean, did i tell them I was going to go on the show and call the guy a d!ck? no." going on further to say he wish he would have because it might have prevented some of the back-&-forth nastiness that ensued. One thing about live tv tapings I've now noticed: the audio that they pump into the studio while showing taped clips they mix into the show is at 5 to 7 times as loud as anything else that you'd hear during a show. Why? No idea. except that maybe they actually use the sound OF the clip that they pick up ON the studio audience mics (so they also get accompanying audience laughter). this happened on Letterman too. it's strange to go from laughing hysterically to freaking out about loud speakers blasting at you, making you want to cover your ears in horror. All in all though, it was a Most, Most excellent experience. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. A heartbeat ... that happens next Tuesday even! HA! yep. Matt has tickets for the Dec 7th show. ohww yaaa. and Conan O'Brien in January. mmm HMMM...! god i love this city.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004
So much for the reprieve. My mom is being moved into a nursing home today. The good news, .. if there can be any good news in any of this .. is that the home is not the one her mom spent her last days in and it is just down the road from their house. can i still call it 'their' house? see, these are the things I dont want to think about. The bad news.... well, see above. Where would I even start..? And so I wont. Needless to say, her condition sucks, this whole situation sucks, cancer sucks... literally, sucks.. the life out of the afflicted and those in friend and familial proximity. I hate what it is doing to my mom, to my dad, to my brother and myself. I wouldn't wish any of this on any type of 'worst enemy' - What about G.E. Smith, the former guitarist of Saturday Night Live, you ask? good memory. he Is my nemesis and I hate him so much I still turn my head when he's on TV, but no. Well, how'bout the "band" U2, you say? no. a pox on their poorly-rocking house, but that's it. not George W. - he deserves something else... maybe something itchy, ...not even the Denver Broncos... i'll go with the same for them - something itchy, sounds right. AND SO it goes.... moments of overwhelming gravity ... with split second jumps to comedic relief. sometimes even a half assed attempt helps. confrontation, avoidance, confrontation, avoidance. huge steps forward, little steps back, sometimes little steps forward, huge steps back. like inching into a freezing pool or scalding bathtub.

IN other news:
- the leaves have fallen. what haven't are banana yellow or litter the street in a heathered carpet of fall loveliness. Snow is not too far off.
- had thanksgiving at Waverly Diner. it's the most diner'y diner in the neighborhood but man alive was it a weak t-day meal. still... not-so-hot left overs Do Make somehow-much-better left overs.
- Revelation Space is THEE most amazing book in the universe. to say it's the best sci-fi ever implies that it's only the best of sci-fi, a huge injustice. It is... and do not take this lightly at all... the best book ever. Ever. yes, I said it. e-v-e-r. Read it. tell me I'm wrong. I'll tell you, You Lie!

Monday, November 29, 2004

NY Journal # 19

Monday, November 29, 2004

"Let's stop in at Myers of Keswick, ...I swear, every time I go there, there's always at least one absolutely beautiful girl there"
I said this to Matt as we walked up Hudson, checking out the Hudson neighborhood more thoroughly and just generally walking to walk and explore.
Myers of Keswick is an everything-British store for homesick Englanders and those who appreciate the few delectable treats among their admitedly, not-so-envied cuisine. Pasties, pork pies, bangers, rashers, Scotch eggs, Penguin chocolates, wine gummies, a dozen variations of malt vinegar, you name it, they've got it, mate. I love going in there mostly because it is so quintissentially English and damn it if the product names aren't often hilarious (Morton's Mushy Peas, Baxter's Cock-a-Leekie soup, etc). Truth be told though, the store seems to be a magnet for beautiful ladies. It might just be a magnet for beautiful people in general. I wouldn't know because I'm always distracted by the stunning lasses and the food shelves I then try to refocus on so as not to stare at said lovelies. I'm not just talking "hey, look, a beautiful girl"... if it were that easy, I wouldn't be mentioning it. No, I'm talking a-choir-of-angels-singing-in-harmony beautiful, the kind where nouns and verbs fall away to leave you fumbling naked with a bunch of adverbs and adjectives.
Ok, so they're not always This beautiful, but on Saturday, the lovely lady was none other than Ms Liv Tyler. And if you think she might not be as beautiful in person as she appears on film .... fuggetabowtit. she's more. Even with (or possibly because of) very little make-up and a big ol' pregnant belly, waddling around the store.
- ab-so-lute-ly stunning. The common public refrain of "how is she a product of Aerosmith-A*hole Steven Tyler??" rang loud... there was no discernable sign I saw in person that they're related, nothing that isn't there on tv or film.
She's just stunning, perfect. ridiculously so. He looks like an ass's ass looking into an ass-mirror of infinity.
Soo... needless to say, I forgot what I was thinking about buying from the store and ended up leaving.
The End.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Hi, I'm John Stewart and welcome to the Daily Show....!
On Tuesday! I will hear those words LIVE. finally! Matt & I called in for tickets 5 or 6 months ago and it's finally time to go!
I feel like I'm getting to see Santa Claus appear on the Easter Bunny show with additional guests, the Tooth Fairy and Godzilla. music by Mr T.
As if that wasn't good enough, we Also have tickets for Dec 7th..! HA!~

I still need to arrange tickets for Saturday Night Live, Conan O'Brien and the John MacEnroe Show (before it gets nixed). While I was in calif. I'd entertained the notion of going to / taking my mom to the Ellen Degeneres show though it ended up not working out, time-wise. too bad, 'cause Ellen is funnier'n all'get'up. If anyone knows what that phrase means or where it comes from, please tell me 'cause I keep using it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The injuries pile higher.....
or ..things, that suck - a lot:

- The Raiders season is officially over. so sad. so very very sad.
- my home laptop is on it's last legs, it seems. Not even Tron could save its fizzling, sketchy video chip.
- speaking of which, my Tron DVD is glitching at one spot in the movie. Grr!
- people still think office building bathroom stalls are fair game for talking to me or placing phone calls. Hi, are you not aware that You're On The Toilet?!
- Ending new friendships is hard even when all signs and friends point to it being absolutely necessary. Sometimes you really -shouldn't- look past the bad.
- being woken up at 2:47am by kitten ruckus.
- being woken up at 4:36am by kitten ruckus.
- being woken up at 5:36am by kitten ruckus.
- being woken up at 6:51am by kitten ruckus.
- not having health insurance.
- not being able to sit in a warm Washington Square Park for hours on end.
- the next four years. politically speaking.
- vaccuum cleaners, ant eaters, pool filters.

Saturday, November 20, 2004
Ok already. fine,... I get it, yes - I'm ready for a girlfriend. or ... casual dating. or 'whatever'. I prefer blondes, redheads and brunettes. I'd like it if they were tall or short or of medium height. Really, I'm not picky, so long as they're perfect. Deliveries can be made to: ♦♦♦ Washington Place Apt 14 (rear bedroom) - NY, NY 10014. Please provide air holes and food in your shipping container.

Thursday, November 18, 2004
Another week, another shock....

First off, I should apologize for basically subjecting you to reading what amounts to 'my diary' - obviously or not, the journals didn't start out this way. Perhaps I should be less candid with the details of my mom's deteriorating condition. And then I remember that when it comes down to it, I've been writing for a historical record of this part of my life, to look back on later and hopefully process in mentally healthy ways that I cant seem to do right now.
Sooo.. this is for me. If you're curious and voyeuristic (aren't we all?) - read on. this being said of course, to those of you I haven't lost already with tales of gloom and impending death. Not really sunshine and lollipop bedtime reading, I know.

Yesterday, I got a call from my dad, his voice low and reserved in an all too familiar 'harbinger of bad news' way. I paddled through the small talk which seems understandably necessary in some way but is also a frustrating formality that only heightens the anxiety of not knowing what is behind door number one. It seems that behind door number one, my mom fell the night before. Fell. Sounds benign, right? It would be, if she had been able to lift herself off of the ground. Or if my 72 year old, 5'10", 130lb dad were able to. The fall occured trying to transfer my mom from wheelchair to couch, a distance of... 8 inches. My mom stood from the wheelchair but ... for lack of a better way to put it... then didn't know how to turn around and sit down. What followed was a heart wrenching story of them struggling to drag and pull her along the floor to get to the two recessed steps of the living room, so that they might get leverage and get her to her feet. There have been other falls, mostly in the bedroom or kitchen - a problem that for a few weeks now has greatly increased the importance of getting hospice help.
Yesterday, my dad's call was to inform me that he was going to have to move her into the hospice home that her mother had lived her last days in (alzheimers). The level of care my mom needed was beyond my dad's physical capabilities and even a live-in helper wouldn't, as far as my dad knew, be able to handle all the various tasks that needed to get done or physicality required to lift my 6'2" mom. Long story, short: my mom Very Much did Not like that idea. My brother said he would take an unpaid leave from his job for 3 months to come up there and help, I was against the hospice home idea for a number of reasons but... I'm not there, so I sort of feel I have less right to imput on the topic. Friends and family friends supported my dad in his decision, knowing that he is going to end up hurting himself if he continues being her caretaker. Still, I felt I would regret it if I didn't suggest in no uncertain terms that I thought mom would really suffer emotionally from the stigma of being placed in a home, the same home her mother had been sent to, a home, obviously, to die. I gently explained / suggested that there are live-in hospice workers that Will do it all, from cooking and cleaning to helping with physical tasks like lifting, helping with showers, etc. He said he would seriously give it a lot of thought over the night but that the hospice home had a rare spot open now so.... that's probably what they would do.
A call from my dad, this morning - reprieve. No hospice home. Again, nearly in tears, my dad told me that this really needs to be about her and her last days, her happiness and well being. She deserves better, he said. Funny.... I listened and agreed with a detatched sense of relief when he told me - now, that brings me to tears. Ok, maybe that's not so funny. but maybe That's funny that it's not funny? me thinks I do digress......
She Does deserve better. Of course, she deserves to not have brain cancer at all. Most people, falling short of evil, dont deserve sickness - not that it's my place to dole out sickness or determine who deserves what, good or bad.
Does it really just come down to life's roulette spin and that little white ball that plinks across the numbers of the different fates your life could land on? There is something both reassuring and deathly scary in the blind randomness of that.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

NY Journal # 18

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
excerpt from overheard cubical chatter:
coworker # 1 - oh crap
coworker # 2 - "oh crap". that seems to be a popular curse these days
coworker # 1 - ya, isn't it..?
coworker # 2 - i wonder where that started
coworker # 1 - you know what? i think Raymond's father started that...
coworker # 2 - Raymond's father?
coworker # 1 - ya, from Everybody Loves Raymond. I've been watching it for years and he always says "oh crap"

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Still loving.......
- this city for a dozen nameable reasons and ten dozen unnameable reasons.

- my crazy-bastard kitties. as crazy-bastard-y as they are, even.
- my tiny apartment with it's tiny tiny bathroom.
- the internet for keeping me from finding out if 'bored to death' is just a saying or not.
- the East coast, for it's weather and folliage, it's accents and neighborhoods.
- my neighborhood, for it's proximity to everything.... or a train to everything.
- each different country-cuisine of food i try almost daily.
- the human Frogger game played whilst navigating people and car traffic.
- excercise... though lethargy and the recent cold try to keep me from it.
- friends and family. ok, some friends, ..all family.
- the subway system.
- the fact that the above is now on this list and not the one below.
Still NOT loving........
- Monday Night Football starting at 9pm Eastern, ending after midnight.
- anything that occurs before 8am. anything.
- 51% of the American public and 'their' next four years.
- crazy people.
- mean people.
- crazy mean people.
- the self important.
- the self deluded.
- the self obsessed.
- the self referential.
- the self sabotaging.
- the self absorbed.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Today's math work.....
38° + light rain / umbrella = no problem
38° + light rain + any-amount-of-wind / ±umbrella = kill me.
Flapjack + bathmat = issues.
Flapjack + (bathmat+issues) / kory-annoyed = Flapjack-bathmat-issues-continue.
Flapjack + (bathmat+issues) / kory-amused = Flapjack-bathmat-issues-cease.
so far at least.
weekly work paycheck = $60 > unemployment insurance weekly check
working with music = 1000% > working with NO musicworking with no music = kill me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
-11/09/04 6:23pm - bathmat found lying just outside of bathroom
-11/09/04 9:49pm - bathmat found lying just outside of bathroom
-11/10/04 4:36am - bathmat found lying just outside of bathroom

Excerpt rom the illustrious
Nation's Poor Win Election for Nation's Rich"The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office," Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. "You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you." Added Rove: "You have acted beyond the call of duty—or, for that matter, good sense."--------full story here

Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Cold.... so very cold. somewhere between 33° and 40°. - I'd almost forgotten what that felt like. I still love the cold, mind you, but cold -and- wind together... when it was just 60something° two days ago is a bit of a shocker. to the leaves of trees as well, it seems. within one week, i'd say all trees have lost at least half their yellowed leaves. quite lovely- though it's so cold, it feels like no one is noticing.Not much else to report, really. my hair is getting too long, already. thanksgiving approaches, planless-ly so.OH, i Do have news... we have a new bathmat. ok, contain yourselves, as excited as you are right now, there's more to the story. And that is that my dear, lovely Flapjack does not seem to like this bath-mat inhabiting the bath-room. Over a dozen times now, I've gone down the hallway to find that the bathmat has been dragged out of the bathroom... as if I had served him with a dog scented eviction notice he didn't want to acknowledge. I've tried to reason with him, I've shown him Pro's & Con's lists oh having a bathmat in... oh... say... the bath room, I've even tried bribes. He seems to agree, but then, the next day, there it is again. The first time it happened, I thought it was funny. The second through... let's say seventh time it happened, I was kind of annoyed. Now, I think I look forward to finding it in the hallway because it is... well,... Daaamn funny. It's a crucial battle of will's at this point. If I lose, he will own me. I can not let that happen. Victory will be mine.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

NY Journal # 17

Saturday, November 06, 2004
Soooo, you know when you think some actor is great, -as in: not your #1-favorite-of-all-time, but Really Great, as in one of your favorite characters on one of your favorite shows and maybe you're kinda jealous of 'em and admiring of how successful they are and their acting skill and how that could have been you maybe if you'd have stuck with acting and maybe the actor got nominated for an Emmy and then -won it- and how that made you happy when they did. And say, they open a new playhouse in the city with a play that sounds interesting and you send the details to your roommate and you both say "hell ya, let's go see it!" and then the very next day..... that actor comes and sits directly across from you on the subway train? I know. it happens all the time, right? Ya, today was my first. Sure, I've seen Mario Batali about 5 times now and ya, I like his shows even though he's unbearably annoying and no I dont know how I can like him despite all of that.... but this would be my first star sighting (Julianne Moore excluded - only 'cause she was so hot for me when I first saw her at the cupcake place) that I really valued and well... damn it... i woulda had something non-dorky to say. Oh right. the person. you probably dont even know him but maybe you do. heck, it's not important that You wouldn't know him 'cause, of course, the world is MY oyster and I just had two martinis (what?) Anyway, the actor in question is Michael Imperioli of ... well, he's been in a lot, but mostly known as Christopher Moltisanti, on the Sopranos. He and his wife recently opened Studio Dante and Ponies is the play I want to see. Soo... not that I needed to say anything to him but of course that didn't stop the scenario from playing itself out in my head -- as I would be nearing my station, I'd say "Are you Michael Imperioli?" - he'd say: yes - I'd say: "I dig your work - I'm going to be getting tickets for Ponies actually, it sounds great - keep up the good work" - then he'd say "hey, you ever done any acting? I've got a part you'd be great for on the Sopranos... here's the directors number.... come to think of it, you should meet my sister, she's hot, you'd like her" ..... and then I would wake up, having missed my train stop. Before I even played out my imagined future as the newest hot acting god, drunk on women and an overabundance of money, this is what I heard from the ... yes... Other End Of The Train - LOUDLY: "EXCUUUUUSE ME?!?!?!" - it's obvious to me, she wants his attention - he ignores it - HA! coool as ice - good for you - "EXCUUUSE ME?!??!! Are you that Sopranos Guy????!!!!!" - he looks up with a forced but friendly, practiced smile "ya" - her: "OH THAT's great! i love the Sopranos! i loved that episode when you got shot! yeaaa" - him: "hey, thank you, I'm glad you ... like the show" - HA! nice word choice! her: "yeah, it's awesome" - him: "well, thanks, I appreciate that" - - - 2 stops later, her son comes down & nervously says "Hi, I'm sorry, can I get a picture with you?" - this time, with genuine friendliness "Sure, no problem" - his wife then.... gets up... to... make more room for the photo I guess (??) and in classic-Imperioli-awesomeness, he smirk-laughs and says to her in full Sopranos NJ mob accent "hey, where you goin'??? what? you cant be in the picture???" - the mother comes over, like she's about to take some paparazzi photo she can hawk to the tabloids and says "Ok, now say... i dunno, "fugetabowtit" or, i dunno, something from the Sopranos!" - he deadpans it - not a grimmace or smile or any kind of acknowledgement to her supreme idiocy. If I would have been drinking milk, it would have been shooting out of my nose from trying not to laugh. Picture done, Imperioli makes a conscious point for eye contact while shaking the kids hand, they then leave him and his wife to the movie section of the newspaper they'd been trying to read.Did I overdescribe the scene? no, that's really what happened. Was any of it really of any major significance? not really. Would I rather have been the one to, ... firstly - Know his actual name and not call him "that sopranos guy" and then,.. paid him an Informed compliment and mention something NOT related to the Sopranos? Yes, yes I would have. I suspect he would have as well. Instead I got to witness the boorish side of fame worship - celebrity-sighting-gawkers in action.
god I love this city.


Friday, November 05, 2004
If you voted like I did....... I feel your pain. so much, it hurts. a lot.real pain. real physical pain. if i needed more reason to cry - thanks, America. thanks, small town was hard enough holding on to the last vestige of pride in my citizenship. I'm obviously not alone (and no that's not me in the first picture)as if I needed to be shown this to know it was true. or this.once might have been a fluke, this however.....51% is an admission that more than half of us have no heart, no brain and no soul.(Wizard of Oz analogy intended) this might be the most all encompassing article summarizing our pain .....strike that... this is.what can we do now? move? that'd be an admission that the terroris... i mean... Republicans won. for now, just hug someone.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Currently ReadingRevelation SpaceBy Alastair Reynolds

Back in NY.... what to say? the week in Irvine was somewhat draining, off-and-on sad, often frustrating. I thought that deadened was the wrong word for what I've been feeling about my mom's condition, mostly due to the word-associative feel but Merriam Webster seems to point to it being accurate. Also accurate are it's Synonyms: benumb[ed], blunt[ed], desensitize[d], dull[ed], mull[ed], numb[ed] - all because of the Related Words cumulative effect, I have been: anesthetize[d], paralyze[d], unnerve[d]; stun[ned], stupef[ied] by the reality confronting her. and only by extension, me. I can think of and talk about the situation with a detatched objectivity, as if telling a story about a fictional Kory and his family. If not for the irreverance of it, I would find it a fascinating psychological study into grief and the prolonged sickness and preperation for the loss of a parent. And yet, not even irreverent is the right word for it. To say that I dont have the proper respect and seriousness is just not right. I'm fully aware of what is going to happen, and to put it plainly, I am not screaming out "NOOOO" inside... as I guess I thought I would be. Why? I dont know. Have I moved on to the 'acceptance' phase of grief..?¤ Shock - yep, felt it, feel it, will probably continue to feel it...¤ Denial - ya, same here, perhaps my detachment springs from an intentional misconception that this is happening to someone else.¤ Bargaining - i think this one might just be for religious folks. I haven't made any deals with the devil or god to spare anyone... ¤ Fear - well, ya, duh... a spoonful of fear-sugar helps human-ness go down.¤ Anger - "ya, it's terminal brain cancer, a-hole, think that might be serious?" - That's a little thoughts I've had at times when people ask me if she's "going to be ok".. I appreciate the concern, I do, I know it's an awkward subject - I guess it's just that we're just a little more sensitive to stupid questions these days.¤ Despair - I had to look up despair to see what Exactly it meant. Can you lose all hope if the time for hope came to an end? ¤ Acceptance - this is the part I question... Am I really there yet? perhaps I'm just accepting of one of the many barrages of shock-and-awe-bad-news that's rained down upon us. Each new bit from the doctors and MRI results has brought the stages of grief to call. Which I think has made the acceptance phase easier to bear each time. A reality, almost impossibly hard to accept has been forced on us repeatedly to this point where "ya, ok, i get it" - it's ending. Does that make me calloused? Is 'deadened' a cruel word to use to describe my current state? Is my openness and honesty in talking about it irreverent or accepting...?
A new topic for tomorrow, I promise.

Monday, November 01, 2004
JOURNAL ENTRYSo.... the major dilemma for my dad seems to be this 'hospice care' thing. And to what degree someone will be helping out, in the home or in -a- home. I guess it's a major admission that the end is near and that hope to overcome the cancer has been given up. For 17 months now they have been practicing an active act-and-react hope system (surgery, then hope) and then denial when the cancer came back - for good reason of course - up until a few weeks ago, there was always another step they could try. As the available surgical and medical options have vanished, a positive attitude has been harder to maintain. All of this coupled with the fact that my dad is now doing his job and her job and assisting in most of her basic daily functions including eating.... ya, they need help. no need to elaborate on that. So now my dad is trying to figure out if they need someone 7am-7pm or someone live-in or someone to visit a few times a day or every other day or whether a hospice home is more approprite. All of this has been mentioned to me with questions as to what level of involvement i think a hospice helper should be helping. I am of course strongly opposed to any sort of hospice home that my mom would be sent to. I cant think of anything worse to end one's days than to be sent somewhere to die. Of course, I am not living here and dealing with the pain day to day and i feel a bit guilty for even interjecting my opinion on him when he is the one in the middle of the storm. ok. mom and hospice lady are done w/ the shower. off to hang w/ the moms.

Sunday, October 31, 2004
In Irvine, CA:
° kids trick-or-treat at shopping malls. not department-store-type malls, but supermarket-and-31-flavors type malls. Really. a lot of them. like a whole lot. like more than you remember being out and about in your neighborhood growing up.
° kids do Not trick or treat in their home neighborhoods. Why? is actual community involvement and comingling something of the past? or for 'other' neighborhoods?
° Iranians are everywhere. No really. every - where. look, there's one now.
° At the local supermarket, in the deli section, the sandwichboards listing the different cuisines you can choose from read as following: Sandwiches - Persian - Mexican.
° If you do not have a car you are A) under the legal driving age. B) too old to drive. C) carpooling (if you've spent any time in Southern California, you are laughing hysterically right now - there is no such thing as carpooling)
° smog is the thing hanging over L.A., off in the distance - not your problem, keep driving.
° shopping malls (the dept store kind) are what there is to do for evening entertainment.
° the "lowest crime rate in the country" stats are watched ever so closely to make sure Irvine has not dipped from # 1 status.
° Eating out is, as it is in Texas, the norm, not the exception. - in fact, aside from the Iranians, maybe this could be a list of why Irvine is like Texas list.
° where my parents are.
° oh- the anti-mall. what's the anti-mall..? I'm glad you asked. it's a hilarious collection of counter-culture type stores which in itself defines itself as mass culture even though it's not even though it is even though it's not even though it is.. maybe it's the poetry readings that lend that aire of anarchistic authenticity. Oh AND THE parking validation!!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

NY Journal # 16

Saturday, October 30, 2004
Ahhhh, Irvine. what to say, what to say? nothing really. about Irvine at least. My mom is perpetually a few words short of full sentences and gets frustrated by it. Over and over. My dad is doing ... far more than i thought him capable of, far more than i'd think anyone capable of in fact. It's pretty amazing. I dont think i ever would have thought of him as a caregiver. Very nice to see. Also nice to see is demonstrative love. Outward caring. Visible compassion. Me? I seem to be pretending that nothing is all that wrong. Or that it's temporary. or a minor illness. or... i dont know. more later.

Friday, October 29, 2004
I dont want to talk about it.... which is maybe why I should.

The only constant in the universe is that everyone, everything... dies. The great stage mananger of the universe seems to be in the process of directing my mom off stage. Exit... stage left. No, not now... wait for it... wait.... on my cue........ keep holding.....

Glioblastoma Multiform, grade IV brain cancer, the least survivable cancer, cells multiplying out of control. cells. this is all about cells. sure on some level it's all about atoms but here, with cancer, it's all about cells. you cant see cells. how often are life's problems determined by things so small you cant see? so small. death isn't small.

A year and a half ago, my parents visited New York. We walked and walked and walked all over the city on a typical out-of-towners whirlwind tour of NY. We saw everything, ate pizza, took pictures. took pictures in Central Park. the Ramble.
1 month later, sitting in the small room at home, computer chair creaking as I rocked slightly, the feel of my cell phone headset wire taut from ear to pinched fingers as I held it, I listened to the description of the "eye stroke" my mom had.
Eye stroke?
4 days later. more tests.
Not a stroke. no.
3 days later. more tests.
no. please no.
crying. in the shower.
again, so vivid a memory.
the first release.
first of many.
many firsts.
each bad news received is a first.
2 weeks later.
everyone present.
the hospital, the waiting room.
then hope.
medication. then hope.
wait. repeat.
then wait.
where did hope go?
still there, we all say loudly.
a stranger lurks in the corner.
then the call.
the recent call.
so small.
the phone.
the voice.
no longer
treatment ceased.
the stranger stepping forward.
no. but what if,
the strangers hand on my shoulder..
but.. all those survival stories..
c'mon, cant....
but you have.
given up.
but why.
this stranger,
this truth or acceptance or reality,
take your pick..
he doesn't need to say why.

(pardon the prose.... i haven't written a poem since... high school? not sure why i just did, but it let me both focus on and be distracted by what's going on)

AND SOOoooo.........I dont want to talk about it. Although I just did. I dont want condolences. though i've already received them... I dont want anything from anyone who 'wouldn't' if my situation were happy roses and rainbows. I have no time or energy for it. The falseness of un-fair-weather help just magnifies it's own falseness. These mental pathways that I hardly ever use: depression, anger, neediness, panic - are on fire.. So active are my synapses firings, i fear i'll get taken down in the battlefield crossfire. Every three minutes or so I have to consciously un-tense my back muscles. Every 10 to 15 minutes, I snap out of a cross eyed stare at my computer screen. Every 30 mins to an hour, waves of panic, some small, some massive, crash over me. Every few hours, I am fine, and able to cope completely. And then not. AND Every Damn Day for 17 months, my mom has been dying. And then not. And then, and then.....I fly out West this afternoon...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

FOR those of you that dont know about, it's an online (really?) bulletin board where people can: buy stuff, sell stuff, find apartments for sale/rent, list apts for sale/rent, meet guys, meet girls, meet others. you can trade stuff, offer stuff for free, you can rant and make wildly ridiculous claims to the gods of cyberspace.AND OhMyGoodGod - i seriously think the funniest people in the world have access to and use craigslist to purge themselves of pent up comedy, lest they explode:
----- and that The Best of Craigslist is better reading than... well... everything:
this one's awesome too:
oh and this one:
OH and the absolute best being:

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Why does it always take someone else saying something to get me to realize it's something I already believe myself..? How is it possible I can know and believe something but still actively try to produce results opposite to that end? Over and Over, I do this. what am I talking about? I'm not sure, but I think it involved pursuing the wrong girl. oh, and enjoying kissing and intimacy. A lot. and the conflict those two things will invariably create. for me at least. I guess I should start off with saying that I met a girl. She is quite awesome in so many ways: SuperIntelligent, SuperWitty, (which means) SuperFunny, she loves football, she reads ravenously, she loves bad tv, and I'm sure a dozen other things I could cite if I felt like it. There were, however, so many red flags that went from waving in front of my face to swatting furiously at me to trying to take my head off. And somehow, as always, i chose to Not see them... chose to believe they wouldn't matter. I thought that maybe ... given time or understanding, they wouldn't bother me or would go away. The old "Am I being too picky? Is anybody really perfect for anyone?" The flip side of that slippery slope is the futility of entering into, or staying in a relationship with the expectation that a person could change fundamental things about themselves... and that it would make everything ok. All of that aside.... here's a question: when did I become an intimacy whore? I mean, really. wait, Am I really one? I dont even.. objectively.. know! have I always been touchy-feely? is it just that it was something new that made me want to be so close to her? Seriously - Just this little recent taste of it made me realize I am more intimacy bound than I ever could have thought I was. touching hands, kissing, gentle touches... an arm around a back even... has been enough to pump adreneline and bring that heightened reality feeling we all..... that i thought we all craved. and yet, she doesn't. says she never has. i dont..... i just .... i dont understand. I knew, and know, that it wouldn't work... or that it shouldn't work. And yet, some part of me still wanted to pursue it. is it just the kissing and intimacy? seriously, i think it might be.... i miss dating and/or having-a-girlfriend and/or being-loved.... that part is not abnormal. maybe I'm just suprised by how Much i missed it. why am i typing this? because i'm pained by this situation. I admit it. frustrated. Stupid circumstance. I find what I think may be a perfect girl & then she turns out to not be perfect. And YES I want perfect (for me) so Dont Even Say It. And dont say "get back out there! date a bunch of girls!" Yeah, like I hadn't thought of doing that, Thanks...! I realized ... no, i admited to myself today, that the problem is that I am shy, and a chickenshit when it comes to starting conversations with girls. with strangers, I mean. i stayed out of the dating game too long. having a girlfriend all through college didn't help the ol' dating skills either. Could this recent nymph have just been any-ol'-girl to produce my current angsty state? Maybe, I dont know. Maybe any girl as smart, witty and attractive could have me in this much flux. I never realized how much I craved 'smart' and 'witty'. There is Absolutely Nothing sexier to me. It gives me goosebumps to be around single, smart girls with a quick wit. Attractive is nice and all but when the lights are out, attractive doesn't make you think or make you laugh.SOoooooooo... We're going the friends route. Which I'm really happy about now 'cause.. well... she's way cool. just not for dating. different peas in the same peapod field. (huh? ok, how'bout this instead) She's a bright burning candle and I'm an environmentally-friendly 65 watt soft-lite halogen bulb. And Yes, I'm girl crazy and Yes I think too much and Yes I need to get out there and Yes I really really think too much and Yes I need to play it cool and Yes a lot of things.I just miss ... so many things. ....about so many things.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Steve McCroskey : And I can sum it all up in just one word: courage, dedication, daring, pride, pluck, spirit, grit, mettle, and G-U-T-S, *guts*. Why, Ted Striker's got more guts in his little finger than most of us have in our large intestine, including the colon!

Steve McCroskey : Jacobs, I want to know absolutely everything that's happened up till now. Jacobs : Well, let's see. First the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes. And Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. I couldn't believe it.

Pilot: And that's when we lost Bill.
Prosecutor : Over Macho Grande?
Pilot: No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande.

Boy: Can I ask you a question?
Striker : What is it?
Boy: It's an interrogative form of sentence, used to test knowledge. But that's not important right now.

and .. if this isn't the best song in the universe, you're wrong, 'cause it is:
Belle and Sebastian - If She Wants Me

Monday, October 18, 2004

NY Journal # 13 & 14 & 15 - hair no more

Lucky 13 Journal ?
The Last Journal of Sampson
The Last Day and The First Day of the Rest of My Days

Yes... if you caught the biblical reference, you've guessed it: My long hair will be no more, as of tonight. All of it. Gone. 7 years in the making, now 4 days planning, and .. I'll guess it'll be 15 minutes in the offing. Why? I'll get to why. Needless to say, I've been operating under a somewhat heightened sense of reality these past 4 days as I count down to what is both a trivial change of a so very not-important physical appearance change and... at times, seems to be the beginning and end of everything I know...

Yielding to Delilah's requests, Sampson revealed his secret: "if my hair is cut off, then my strength will go away." - Judges 16:17
- Sampson took himself Way Too Seriously.

Hair as a symbol of identity: psychologists say that hair, before skin color and race even, is the first thing people notice. More than height or weight, facial features, all of it. Why? Well... it's right there, on top of your dome. Can you even avoid noticing someone's hair? Probably not.
Yeah, but why? Seriously, I don't know, stop asking. Whether or not we understand why it's so appearance-defining, there is both reason for attachment to your hallmark of identity - and also reason to be aware of this faux identity, rise above it, and not play the game.

And so I'll list that as # 1 on my list of Why's:
1. I'm sick of the 'game'. my hair does not define me. if it did for some people, fine, it's gone as of tonight. Now what?
2. No more morning 'hassle'. huge amounts of conditioner, leave-in conditioners, gel for broken, frizzy, split ended hairs. No more 15-20 minutes brushing, re-brushing, putting in a pony tail and often braiding. even after years of this, my arms get sore near the end of brushing and braiding. ridiculous.
3. No more ponytail. if I never wear my hair down, why have it? this has often been my # 1 reason for wanting to get rid of it. seriously, it does not look good down, it goes everywhere when down and gets bushy and ridiculous. Only when it's wet has it looked good down and seeing as how I don't live underwater, wet only lasts so long.
4. No more pulling hair out accidentally, breaking hair, getting hair caught in.... EveryThing possible, more split ends or uneven length due to breakage.
5. No more kitties walking on my hair at night.
6. No more not being able to wear hooded sweatshirts, comfortably at least.
7. No more relaxing the hair, straightening it, dying it and/or whatever else I've done to it over the years.
8. There is the practical, dating factor as well: Some girls really like guys with long hair... that's fine. It would have been nice to meet more of them while I had the hair. On the flip side: the -majority- of girls will not even consider dating guys with long hair. Would this ever be reason alone to cut my hair - hell no. Is it a fortunate bonus I'll enjoy - hell yes.
9. It stopped loo... no, -I- stopped considering it as 'looking good' -the majority of the time- a long time ago. Years maybe. the length of the pony tail and/or braid has always been a nice thing, but everything that comes in front of the ponytail is spotted w/ frizzy, broken pieces that -I've felt- has always made 'my hair' looked unkempt.

.... given more time, I'm sure I'd come up with a dozen or more reasons why it should go. It's taken an ever increasing level of bravery, of a detached awareness of the none-importance of hair (I should maybe blame this on that damn yoga and Zen theory) to take the leap and start again at Hair Square One.
AND SOoooooo... tonight, we are having a cut-all-my-hair-off party among our poker party friends, with, yes ... pictures to be taken at various stages of de-hair-ing. We are going to try to fit in as many different hair styles as possible in between full hair and no hair... I'll upload a slideshow once I get the pictures back.
I'll probably also post another journal in a few days, detailing the event and my adjustment to my new non-hair state.

Ok, I'm late to meet friends for football watching...

Long-Hair-Kory, signing off......

[I wrote the below on Monday since haircutting got delayed and in hindsight, i think i needed to keep proving to myself that it was the right idea. My home cable connection was down until today so I didn't have access to email addresses, or I would have sent this sooner]

Wellll... aint it just the way the hairball bounces. I open my mouth and out come lies, LIES i tell you! Hair cutting did not happen last night. It has been delayed a day or two due to.... well, I'm still not sure what happened. I was ready, my friends were not. It turned out to be a mild relief though - another day's reprieve for the condemned man standing at the gallows... uhh to speak. I was going to just do it myself, or have Matt do it but it was getting late & i figured 'screw it, it can wait a day or two'. A different friend will be on shearing duty tonight or tomorrow at the latest. I'm hoping it's tonight now 'cause I just want it over with at this point. [said 'friend' flaked... both days. what the F? ok, maybe it WAS just me who'd pay to be present for a friend's head shearing]

And as predicted, there are other reasons for cutting my hair that I remembered after sending the last journal: 1. No more hair ties, no more hair to be found all about the apartment, no more brushes full of hair, no more bathtub drain full of hair. no more immediate guilty-verdict when it's questionable 'who's hair that is' - a factor that will also help greatly in my future career as high society criminal. 2. no more being mistaken for random strangers friend with long hair. 3. no more having it be assumed that i know where to "score" illicit substances for people.4. Ah - no more dirty-fighting-liability; No, i most certainly am not planning on getting into any fights, but if it happens, I'll be happy to not have a nice ready, handle to be grabbed. 5. And my personal favorite reason: I -may- have a treasure map on my head. seriously, how will I know unless I cut my hair? Ridiculous you say? Fine. You shall not share in my pirate's booty! 6. Last but certainly not least, my hair is being donated to a group that makes wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. I figure with the amount of hair I have, I've got a whole hospital wing covered.

THINGS I MIGHT MISS ABOUT LONG HAIR: 1. Annoying all of the various corporate overlords, directors, managers, fellow employees. Anyone who's ever thought "how did that guy get hired?". I love it. If you cant see past someone's hair, .. I'm not even going to finish that sentence.. it would have ended with the mention of a good, swift kick in the groin being needed. Oops. i guess I just finished that sentence. 2. Braiding. Believe it or not, I taught myself to braid my own hair only after Elizabeth moved back West. Elizabeth had always done it for me prior to her move. Sure. Braiding is easy, braiding your -own- hair... not so easy. at first. Over the course of a week of practice, I gained the physical memory with my fingers to know how it should feel as it's done so that it's almost easier to do it Without watching what you're doing. It was... well, kind of exciting to learn something like that. It felt like learning to juggle... if you can juggle, you know what I mean.3. Warmth. Yes. I am picking the wrong end of our celestial swing around the sun to be going warmth-insulation-less. 4. My official membership in the Long Hair's Club: yes, it's sad. They make you turn in your gun and badge the day you leave the club. What? wrong c.. ..Ok, I'm being told that's a different club.5. The rare occasion when a girl would gush over my hair being "sooo beautiful" or jealous of it's length. The grass always being greener on the other side, my response was almost always "I'll gladly trade you" (they laugh and agree we should but always run when i actually bring out the scissors.. what the hell?!?)

AND ON THAT NOTE.... no more hair talk. at least not until it's actually gone and I'm crying like a safety-blanket-less baby.

SO.. ya, hey! I'm working a temp job! exciting, isn't it? No. the answer is: No. it is Not exciting. It is quite possibly award winning in it's capacity to bore. As in "a hole through my skull". As in "I have read every page on the internet with all of the free time I have, now what?". As in "I fall asleep on weekends just thinking about my job". As in "How is this worth $60 more than unemployment?". The job is at a telecom company that my roommate Matt was temping at before he got a permanent gig at the company his girlfriend works at. I'm doing almost the same thing I was at MCI and yet I never really thought of MCI as boring. Go figure. That's the work itself, the rest of it is somehow kinda cool. It's far downtown, 3 blocks from Wall Street, right at the southwest tip of Manhattan (across from Battery Park and right in front of South Street Ferry station if that means anything to ya) It's nice to be in the thick of an actual working "work" environment. Every place else I've worked has been too sparesly populated to feel like an actual "high traffic work neighborhood". Our building being so close to the water, I can take my lunch back to the office and eat lunch with a 180 degree view from New Jersey to Brooklyn, Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, Grovernors Island, etc included. It's pretty impressive. Even more impressive is the selection of food choices down here. Restaraunts, sure, but I'm talking about food carts and food trucks. Everything from Middle Eastern food to Indian to West Indies to Pizza to dumplings to BBQ to Fried Chicken to fruit shakes to American-diner fare. Most people would never even consider getting food from a food truck serving ethnic food... I'd hazzard to say that most New Yorkers thrive on it. Cute little old Jewish ladies getting jerk chicken, Suit&Tie businessmen closing a deal on their cell phones while in line for lamb over rice, construction workers queueing up for Indian. And all at least 30%-40% cheaper than the local restaraunts. The neighborhood itself is pretty fun to walk around in as well... of course ENDLESS upon endless historical sites (that's a lot of endlessness, eh?) in the area, Wall St a few blocks away, WTC 2 blocks from that, South Street Seaport 5 blocks, Bowling Green park and the Indian Heritage Museum, Battery Park.. it's all right here. I guess that means this was a part of town I hadn't previously explored all that much. Should I be suprised that I'm still discovering new parts of town? HA! right. I'd guess I've seen 1/1000th of this city so far, if that. OK - enough for now... Kory-with-hair signing off For REAL this time.

[P.S. we cut my hair last night. details and pictures to follow, in the next journal.]

NY Journal # 15
Ya. hey. it's cut. my hair, that is.I am happier than you could imagine. Sure, the hair looks good, I will admit, but mostly I am happy that I somehow wasn't overcome by paralyzing apprehension prior to the event or nervous tension during or panic after - like what I experienced 7 years ago when I last cut it. Seriously, I remember asking myself why I did it for months after that cut. This cut was much more 'my choice' which of course, being planned by me, involves an intentional lack of planning - something that understandably frustrates those around me but which -I- always really enjoy. So... my roommate Matt, my friend Chris and I prepared -as best we could- for the event: champagne, beer, buzz clippers and a tiny make-up mirror left by Elizabeth. Oh Ya. We then readied ourselves (ok, myself) for the event by watching a documentary the Trio channel had recently aired - American Mullet. If you couldn't guess, it's about Mullets... aka Sh-Longs, aka Sho-Lo's (for short/long) aka (said the documentary) "Mexican Gangbanger Cut" .... ?? ya, i dont get that one either. So, I figured, if anything could get me to shed my remaining attachments to something some people took so seriously and yet just made them look ridiculous anyway... this show had to be it. It turned out to not be Thee answer, but it helped. As the cutting hour drew closer, I had occasional thoughts that this was my last moment doing this or that with long hair... totally ridiculous, totally sentimental, totally counterproductive to severing a tie you intend to... well... cut. The movie ended, we moved to the kitchen and.. god bless 'em, Matt and Chris both looked at me with a look that said "no, ask Him to do it". I actually wanted to do the first few swipes of the buzz cutter so I was fine with starting. The plan was for a mullet cut on one side, a Mr T cut on the other and eventually, a long mohawk from front to back before it all came off. And more or less, as the pictures hopefully will show, that's what happened. Sadly, by the time we got to the mohawk, "time" itself had become an issue. We'd spent what felt like an hour getting to that point and we were all sick of it, so... the mohawk was a laying-down-mohawk, but some other crazy photo opportunities got set up, although I fear that they may have produced Fright-House-levels of scary pictures. So.... ya, it's done. cut. I haven't actually measured but I'd guess all of the hair on my head (facial hair included) is 1/8th of an inch long. Minus my eyebrows of course - ... no, i did not feel compelled to shave my eyebrows to match.

1. I still reach behind me to pull my pony tail out of newly put-on shirts.
2. My scalp is fun-durfully squishy!
3. I can fit into hats and wear hooded sweatshirts.
4. No matter how they try, Flapjack and Hambone can not step on my hair.
5. My head doesn't get nearly as cold as I thought it would.
6. No treasure map.
7. There are 3 really small spots where no hair grows, two of them I can trace to getting hit in the head with rocks as a kid. the other may be the alien probe insertion point.
8. 34 years of not having a shaved head makes your head very pale.
9. 7 years of long hair always in a pony tail is not good for your scalp.
ya... ok. pending-pictures aside, THAT now, really is enough hair talk.

OK. pictures are up. good to go. like my hair. Was:

And so on to other things: Have I mentioned how much I hate daylight savings [sic] time? I do, it's true. I know I'm not alone in this so where are the petitions and letter writing campaigns and mass demonstrations and chaos and anarchy? A great history of and commentary on Daylight Saving Time:
The highlight for me was: A writer in 1947 wrote, "I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)

- Not my kind of yoga, but I love that he's doing it AT Fisherman's Wharf:
SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters)
-- Nudists, grab your yoga mats and head for San Francisco.
City prosecutors Wednesday said it was not illegal to perform naked yoga in the city -- even at the crowded tourist destination of Fisherman's Wharf.
Prosecutors dropped charges against a limber nudist, known locally as the "Naked Yoga Guy," who made a habit of striking yoga poses in the buff in order to promote a book and his lifestyle.
The Naked Yoga Guy, whose name is George Monty Davis, had stripped to stretch nearby Fisherman's Wharf, prompting a public complaint. But prosecutors decided they had a weak public nuisance case against him because local laws do not bar public nudity.
"Simply being naked on the street is not a crime in San Francisco," said Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
"To bring a case, a person would have to exhibit lewd behavior, block traffic or impede pedestrians on a sidewalk, something along those lines."
In another case involving a Los Angeles teenager who dropped his pants to expose his bottom, or "moon," passing motorists from a nearby sidewalk, a California appellate court ruled nudity itself is not a crime, Mesloh said.
Davis could not immediately be reached for comment.